Thursday, 2 February 2012

'That' letter and 'those' signatories

Below is the text and the signatories of the letter to The Times. For the uninitiated, a PTO is not a revolvable minister but someone with 'Permission to Officiate'.
I must be careful what I say about chaplains, having been one myself for an inordinate length of time. However, I couldn't help noticing that seventeen of the hundred and twenty signatories appear to be involved in chaplaincy work (including the Head of Spiritual and Pastoral Care Services, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust). Is there some connection, I ask.
There are also several other non-parochial clergy listed.
As to the number of parishes, I counted seventy 'benefices' including some multi-parish groupings.
It may be uncharitable of me to say so, but I suspect that if one reckoned the clergy and parishes involved by percentages, their request to have their views 'fully represented in [the General] Synod' has probably been more than met already.
 Letter to The Times
We, the undersigned, believe that on the issue of holding civil partnership ceremonies in Church of England churches incumbents / priests in charge should be accorded the same rights as they enjoy at present in the matter of officiating at the marriage of divorced couples in church. Namely, that this should be a matter for the individual conscience of the incumbent / priest in charge.
We would respectfully request that our views in this regard are fully represented in Synod.
Rev. Preb. Brian Leathard, Rev. Dr. Jack Dunn
St. Luke’s with Christ Church, Chelsea, London, SW3
The Rt. Rev. Edward Holland
Hon. Assistant Bishop in London and Europe
The Rev. Canon Mark Oakley
Canon Treasurer, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, EC4
The Rev. Canon. Dr. Giles Fraser
Former Canon Chancellor, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, EC4
Rev. Lucy Winkett, Rev. Lindsay Meader, Rev. Hugh Valentine
St. James’s, Piccadilly, London, W1
Rev. Canon. Joe Hawes
All Saints, Fulham, SW6
Rev. Gillean Craig
St. Mary Abbots, Kensington, W8
Rev. Ginny Thomas
St. Mary with St. Peter and St. Jude, West Brompton, SW10
Rev. Stephen Dando, Rev. Elaine Dando
St. Lawrence Church, Eastcote, Pinner, London, HA5
Rev. Preb. Ron Swan
PTO Diocese of London
Rev. Canon. John Record
St. Peter, Black Lion Lane, Hammersmith, London, W6
Rev. Alistair McCulloch
Chaplain, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, London, SW3
Rev. Dr. Julie Gittoes
All Saints’ Church, Hampton, London, TW12
Rev. Robert Thompson
The Lead Chaplain: The Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, London, SW3
Rev. Dr. Martin Dudley
St. Bartholomew The Great, Smithfield, London, EC1
Rev. Laura Burgess
St. Botolph, Aldgate, London, E3N
Rev. Stephen Mason, Rev. Dr. Brutus Green, Rev. Margaret Legg
St. John The Evangelist with St. Michael and All Angels, Hyde Park Crescent , London, W2
Rev. Craig Barber
Anglican Chaplain, London Metropolitan University, London, EC
Rev. Monica Stewart, Rev. Imogen Vibert
St. Thomas, Stamford Hill, London, N16
Rev. David Peebles
St George Bloomsbury, London, WC1
Rev. Andrew Cain, Rev. Christine Cargill
St. James, West Hampstead and St. Mary with All Souls, London, NW6
Rev. Dr. Christina Beardsley
Head of Multi-Faith Chaplaincy, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation, London, SW10
Rev. Dave Tomlinson
St. Luke, West Holloway, London, N7
Rev. Kevin Morris, Rev. Graham Morgan Kt., Rev. Stephen Stavrou
St. Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park, W4
Father Michael Moorhead
All Souls, Harlesden, London, NW10
Rev. Chris Swift
St. Mary Magdalene, Littleton and St. Nicholas, Shepperton, London, TW17
Rev. Jenny Welsh
St. Pancras Parish Church, London, NW1 and Chaplain to University College London
Rev. Hannah Reynolds
All Saints, Hanworth, London, TW13
Rev. Bruce Bridgewood
St. Peter-Le-Poer, Friern Barnet, London, N10
Rev. Nigel Orchard
Christ The Redeemer, Southall, London, UB1
Rev. Stephen Flatt
Head of Spiritual and Pastoral Care Services, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, W2
Rev. Stephen Coles
St. Thomas The Apostle, Finsbury Park, London, N4
Rev. David Wheeler, Rev. Paulette Mullings
St. Saviour, Wendell Park, London, W12
Rev. Will Baynes
St James the Less, Sussex Gardens, Paddington, W2 and PTO Diocese of London
Rev. Dr. Edward Norman
St. James Garlickhythe, London, EC4
Rev. Gerald Beauchamp
St. Cyprian, St. Marylebone, London, NW1 and The Annunciation, Bryanston Street, St. Marylebone, London, W1
Rev. Jeff Hopkin Williams
St. Mary The Virgin, Twickenham, London, TW1
Rev. Nicola Stanley. Rev. Andrew Williams
All Hallows, Twickenham, London, TW1
Rev. Jenny Petersen
Anglican Chaplain, St. Benet’s Ecumenical Chaplaincy, Queen Mary, University of London
Rev. Rachel Hawes
St. John, Notting Hill, London, W11
Rev. Paul Nicholson, Rev. Mark Speeks
St. Peter, Belsize Park and St. Saviour, South Hampstead, London, NW3
Rev. David Matthews
Holy Innocents with St. John, Hammersmith, London, W6
Rev. David Allen
St. Clement, Kings Square, London, EC1 and chaplain to Moorfields Eye Hospital and City University, London, EC1
Rev. Michael Fuller
The United Benefice of Holland Park, London, W8
Rev. Simon Grigg
St. Paul, Covent Garden, London, WC2 and chaplain to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, WC2
Rev. Philip Warner
St. Magnus The Martyr with St. Margaret New Fish Street and St Michael Crooked Lane, London, EC3
Rev. John Hawkins
St. John, West Hendon, London, NW4 and St. Matthias, Colindale, London, NW9
Rev. John Willmington, Rev. Brandy Pearson, Rev. Robert Pearson
Parish of Acton Green, London, W4
Rev. Bertrand Olivier
All Hallows-by-the-Tower, London, EC3
Rev. Ben Humphries
St. Stephen and St. Thomas, Shepherd’s Bush with St. Michael and St. George, White City Estate, London, W12
Rev. Margaret Evans
St. Stephen, Canonbury, London, N1
Rev. Simon Brandes
St. Nicholas with St. Mary Magdalene, Chiswick, London, W4
Rev. Jonathan Kester, Rev. Alysoun Whitton, Rev. Annette Fritze-Shanks
Emmanuel, West Hampstead, London, NW6
Rev. Graham Buckle, Rev. Debbie Hart
St. Paul, St. Marylebone, London, NW1
Rev. Canon. Chris Chivers
John Keble Church, Mill Hill, London, NW7
Rev. Martin McGonigle
St. Andrew, Southgate, London, N14
Rev. Christopher Cawrse
Holy Cross with St. Jude and St. Peter, St. Pancras, London, WC1
The Rev. Dr. Nicholas Henderson
St Martin’s, West Acton, London W3 & All Saints, Ealing, London W5
Rev. Justin Gau
St. John of Jerusalem with Christ Church, South Hackney, London, E9
Rev. Dominic Fenton
Chaplain, North Middlesex Hospital, London, N18
Rev. Julia Porter-Pryce, Rev. Fraser Dyer
St. Peter, De Beauvoir Town, London, N1
Rev. Andrew Norwood
Chaplain, University of the Arts, London, WC1 and PTO Diocese of London
Rev. Melanie Toogood
St. George and All Saints, Tufnell Park, London, N7
Rev. Stephen Williams
Senior University Chaplain, Diocese of London
Rev Sr Helen Loder SSM
Leader, Sisters of the Society of St. Margaret, St. Saviour’s Priory, London, E2 and PTO, Stepney Area
Rev. Nigel Asbridge
St. Mary with St. John, Edmonton, London, N18
Rev. Dr. John Seymour
Chaplain, Twyford High School, London, W3
Rev Brian Ralph
St. Barnabas, Bethnal Green, London, E3
Rev. Evan. H. Jones
PTO, Stepney Area, London
Rev. Dr. Alan McCormack
St. Botolph Without Bishopsgate and St. Vedast alias Foster, London, EC2
Rev. Reuben Preston
St. Mary of Eton with St. Augustine, Hackney Wick, London, E9
Rev. Dr. Thaddeus Birchard
PTO Charing Cross, Archdeaconry, London
Rev. Edd Turner
St. Aldhelm, Edmonton, N18
Rev. Mark Osborne
St. John with St. James, Walham Green, Fulham, London, SW6
Rev. Peter Bernhard
PTO Stepney Episcopal Area, London
Rev. Stephen Tucker, Rev. Emma Smith
St. John, Hampstead, London, NW3
Rev. Preb. Tony Kyriakides-Yeldham
Palliative Care Chaplain, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, W2
Joe Moffatt, Rev. Mary Hawes
St. Mary with St. Alban, Teddington, London, TW11
Rev. Preb. Alan Green
St. John on Bethnal Green, London, E2
Rev. Dr. Malcolm Johnson
PTO London Diocese
Rev. Canon Garth Hewitt, Rev. Malcolm Doney, Rev. Chris Rose
All Hallows, London Wall, London, EC2
Rev. Andrew Willson
Chaplain, Imperial College, London, SW7
Rev. Patrick Tuft
Prebendary Emeritus of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, EC4
Rev. George Pitcher
St. Bride’s, Fleet Street, London, EC4
Rev. Cindy Kent
St. John The Apostle, Whetstone, London, N20
Rev. Niall Weir
St. Paul, West Hackney, London, N16
Rev. Gary Bradley
Little Venice, London, W2
Rev. Canon Michael Ainsworth
St. George-in-the East with St. Paul, Cannon Street, London, E1
Rev. Preb. Adrian Benjamin
All Saints, Friern Barnet, London, N20
Rev. Preb. Alan Wynne, Rev. Jane Hodges
Poplar Team Ministry, London, E14
Rev. Bill Wilson
PTO Diocese of London
Rev. David Tuck
St. Alban, North Harrow, London, HA2
Rev. Robert Mitchell
Ld Chaplain, Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, London, NW3
Rev. Rosamond McDowell
St. Mary –Le-Bow, Cheapside, London, EC2
Rev. Graeme Watson
PTO Diocese of London
Rev. Preb. Michael Shrewsbury
Prebendary Emeritus of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, EC4
Rev. Philippa Turner
Chaplain, Royal Veterinary College, London, NW1 and UCL Medical London, London, WC1
Rev. Philip Davison
St. Mary, Finchley, London, N3
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  1. The phrase "same rights as they enjoy" demonstrates what is wrong with much of this debate.

  2. Revd David Tuck retired some time ago.

    1. Regarding Reverend David Tuck It is true he formally retired. However Father Tuck continues his life of extremely active service as Curate at the Parish Church of St. Alban, North Harrow. I do not believe his opinion should be discounted. Do I detect a sense of discrimination in this comment?

      David Byer

  3. Since when has retirement or a chaplaincy made someone's opinion invalid?

  4. A retired priest is far more likely to sign such a letter. An incumbent would be very unwise to risk alienating large numbers of his parishioners.

  5. Neitehr retirement nor chaplaincy invalidate a person's opinion. However, I would have thought using a pseudonym does by definition.

  6. Philomena,

    Retirement doesn't invalidate anyone's opinion. But it does affect how representative this group is. 100 clerics may be a reasonable proportion of the active clergy in Diocese of London, but it is a considerably smaller proportion of the *active and retired* clergy in Diocese of London.

    This is relevant when this group are demanding that their views be "fully represented in Synod".

  7. And I agree with Jill's point. Whilst all clergy are entitled to express their opinion, some clergy also represent the views of their parishioners.

    It is important to know which sort are speaking out. There are some very large congregations in Diocese of London, and I can't see clergy of any of them listed here.

  8. I hope the view can be represented in synod this coming week. It happens quite a lot in London anyway.

    Andrew Godsall, Exeter

  9. And so the disintegration of Anglicanism continues apace. The C of E will follow Tec into decline. Disappointed to see Garth Hewitt's name there but maybe not surprising since secular, leftist politics has guided him rather more in recent years than evangelicalism.

    Mark B.

  10. Hundreds more are signing the "Changing Attitude" petition. Evangelicals are fighting a lost cause.

  11. I don't think so, anonymous person. The only lost cause in Christianity is surely a non-evangelical church (which is an oxymoron).

  12. Revd John – ‘The only lost cause in Christianity is surely a non-evangelical church’ – I wouldn’t really say that as many ‘non-evangelical church [es]’ can be conservative – ritual and liturgy can also be evangelical in the true sense of the word. In fact I have seen a ‘non-evangelical church’ (one that uses the RC Missal (not my ‘bag’ really but it paints the picture)) increase its Sunday congregation from 12 to 150 in three years. And one of the churches above is my own church and I can assure you it is thriving, middle-of-the-road Anglican church, in North London.

  13. Peter, a full response would be an essay in itself. It all depends what you (and our anonymous contributor) mean by 'church' and 'evangelical'

    However, if I may confine myself to some quick points (I'm using the numbers to help me think!):

    1. In a denomination which is not evangelizing, numerical growth will largely be found in those sections of the denomination which are, and will be proportional to the number of them. The fewer evangelizing churches, the more the denomination will tend to decline.

    2. Spiritual growth will be absent where the truth of the gospel is not proclaimed and maintained.

    3. The primary mission of the Church is "To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom". This is an 'evangelistic' missison and all other mission flows from it.

    4. The core proclamation of the good news is that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (and is therefore our Saviour from sin and coming judgement) and was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (and is therefore Lord of all who will one day return to establish his kingdom). This calls for 'the obedience of faith' (Rom 1:5).

    5. 'Evangelical' churches are those which seek to proclaim Christ to the world as Saviour and Lord and bring people to the obedience of faith, even where the cultural and historical heritage may reveal past detours from the gospel. Churches which do not do this are not 'evangelical', even where the past heritage of the church may have been robustly evangelistic.

    6. In these terms, a non-evangelical church is a contradiction in terms. As Revelation 2-3 shows, however, there always have been and always will be churches which depart from the truths of the gospel but survive for a time.

  14. Just picked up my church stats 2008/9 - there were 525 full time stipendary clergy in London diocese and 691 in total, so this really is a small minority.

  15. What about the very large number of clergy in active same sex unions, many in 'conservative' Anglo-Catholic parishes, a number in Civil Partnerships, who have not signed the petition. You may say "where?" and "who?" - but if you look around you, and really look you will see that many of these are in parishes which are growing and markedly so. The simple distinction between "liberal" and "conservative" and "evangelical" simply will not do - many gay clergy believe in the incarnation, the crucifixion, the bodily resurrection and ascension of Jesus and see in this incarnate God a God who embraces our humanity in its fullness and sets the world ablaze with the fire of his love...

  16. "What about the very large number of clergy in active same sex unions, many in 'conservative' Anglo-Catholic parishes, a number in Civil Partnerships, who have not signed the petition."

    What about them? There are also many other people who haven't signed it and never will. The fact is, that about 15% of the clergy in one diocese seem to have signed this petition. Good for them - but others have the right to disagree.

    "You may say "where?" and "who?" - but if you look around you, and really look you will see that many of these are in parishes which are growing and markedly so."

    The only churches that consistently grow are those that follow traditional christian orthodoxy. No doubt those of other beliefs may attach themselves to such churches, but that doesn't mean they are the ones making that growth happen.

    "The simple distinction between "liberal" and "conservative" and "evangelical" simply will not do - many gay clergy believe in the incarnation, the crucifixion, the bodily resurrection and ascension of Jesus and see in this incarnate God a God who embraces our humanity in its fullness and sets the world ablaze with the fire of his love..."

    Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey my commandments". I agree, labels are a tool of limited use. What matters is whether someone is really being obedient to Christ's teachings.

  17. Bishop Dominic Stockford (Evangelical Connexion)7 February 2012 at 15:21

    "Hundreds more are signing the "Changing Attitude" petition. Evangelicals are fighting a lost cause."

    No, not at all. We (evangelicals) are on the side of Christ, and He has already won! He IS the Word of God, we believe the Word of God, we seek to keep His commands as given us in and by the Word of God.

  18. In Praise of Christians (at least some of them)


    Fr Michael Fuller (one of the signatories of the letter to The Times)

    In my working life I have occasion to work with the local Christian Anglican clergy. One of them, the Rev Michael Fuller of St George’s Church in Kensington, London, has just got back from a pastoral visit to Cornwall. Michael knows I am a Muslim and we occasionally speak about our respective faiths. Last Friday in Cornwall he met some Muslims who have to travel many miles to pray Jummah on Fridays (all the way to Bristol I think). Michael had the bright idea of contacting the local Church of England priest and asking if these Muslims could have their prayers in the local church – thus saving them many miles of travel each Friday. The priest agreed asking only that the Muslims recognise that it was a Christian place of worship – which they gladly did.

    Fr Michael has shown other acts of consideration and kindness to Muslims which I need not go into here. His good works go unreported in the media. As Muslims we hear so often from the bigots and aggressive missionaries who plague our communities and MDI is right to respond to these attacks with robust arguments concerning the truth about Islam. But let us remember that there are Christian priests out there who quietly and lovingly communicate something of the original gospel message of Jesus.

    This is not entirely unexpected as the Quran speaks of such people:

    Thou wilt surely find that, of all people, the most hostile to those who believe [in this divine writ] are the Jews as well as those who are bent on ascribing divinity to aught beside God; and thou wilt surely find that, of all people, they who say, “Behold, we are Christians,” come closest to feeling affection for those who believe [in this divine writ]: this is so because there are priests and monks among them, and because these are not given to arrogance.

    (5:82) Muhammad Asad translation

  19. Just reading you lot makes me glad I got out when I did. Makes me wonder who some of you actually use as your template.
    Ian Harris